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NZ health system rated among best in the world

5 April 2006

NZ health system rated among best in the world

New Zealand has one of the world's best health systems according to a report issued by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund today.

The Fund has ranked New Zealand's health system second among the six developed countries it studies. New Zealand comes in ahead of Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada while Germany is ranked first.

New Zealand's high ranking comes despite having the lowest per capita health spending of the six countries.

Health Minister Pete Hodgson said that the report was a welcome endorsement of New Zealand's world-class health workforce, but said no one should allow our international reputation to be cause for complacency.

"The Commonwealth Fund report is a reminder that the New Zealand way of managing health care is something we should all be proud of," Pete Hodgson said. "We have a system based on fairness that delivers timely, high-quality care for all New Zealanders."

New Zealand ranked in the top-half on all but one of the indicators used by the Fund, with second rankings in the areas of timely access to treatment and surgery, patient-centred care and efficiency. On one measure – provision of care based on scientific evidence – New Zealand ranked sixth.

"Overall, I'm very pleased with how our health system compares internationally, but in New Zealand we set our own standards and I think we still have a lot of work to do. In the coming months, I'll be talking about areas where we need to improve our performance, including prevention, productivity and better care for both children and older New Zealanders.

"One thing that shouldn't be overlooked in this survey is the poor performance of the American health system. Under Don Brash, the National Party has increasingly moved towards advocating for more private provision and less public funding – shorthand for the Americanisation of health.

"It's time for everyone to realise that a health system that leaves people behind is not a health system that should be advocated in New Zealand."

The report can be found at:

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